Culture is Key: Nicole Sia Uncovers Her Influencer Marketing Success
Agency News

Culture is Key: Nicole Sia Uncovers Her Influencer Marketing Success

Neve Fear-Smith
Neve Fear-Smith

DoorDash's partnership with Digital Voices has transformed brand visibility and interaction, cementing its position as a cultural catalyst in North America's retail and delivery sector. 

Recognizing the importance of genuine engagement with Gen Z, we have been working with DoorDash since June 2023 in a partnership that focuses on creativity and cultural relevance, empowering influencers to share authentic stories, and igniting feelings of joy amongst audiences on social media. 

Nicole Sia, the incredible Senior Director, Head of Content and Social Marketing at DoorDash, sets a clear vision of what the brand is trying to achieve and leads DoorDash's Influencer strategy. Her passion for influencer alongside her expertise allows us to do award-winning work and together – we thrive on pushing creative boundaries, stirring up a social buzz resulting in brand love.

Nicole's experience in the social media space is impressive. Before joining the DoorDash team 2 year's ago, she spent some time in the role of Senior Director, Content and Social Media Marketing at Gannett, USA Today Network, and prior to that, she led the Spotify's global social content strategy to promote discovery, drive engagement and impact culture through innovative multi-channel campaigns and always-on storytelling.

Today, we’re shining a spotlight on Nicole… 

Tell us about your career background!

I like to say I’m a “marketer by accident,” because my career began in journalism, as a writer and editor for traditional media outlets but shifted in a heartbeat as storytelling moved to social media. My first love has always been music, so most of my career happened at entertainment titles like MTV and SPIN magazine, and then Spotify — which marked my official jump into tech in 2017. I joined DoorDash in 2022 excited for a new challenge in a new industry with an incredible mission to empower local economies.

Why should brands invest in Influencer Marketing?

This is a controversial way to start my answer to this question, but not all brands should invest in influencer marketing, at least not right away. If, as a brand, your core audience isn’t chronically online, or your product doesn’t lend itself to testimonials, there may be more effective marketing channels to pursue first.

That said, if you’re in a space that connects with culture (and DoorDash certainly does — we’re the brand that has your back through all the complexities of modern life), influencer is where culture is being written. These days, digital audiences are extraordinarily savvy and quick to recognize when they are being advertised to. 

Influencer Marketing acknowledges and responds to shifting audience expectations by being first rooted in entertainment. People won’t mind watching your ad if you make them feel some kind of way that’s additive to their existing content diet. Make them laugh, make them cry, and do it with work that integrates seamlessly with, rather than interrupts, what’s popping on their feed.

In some ways, influencer marketing is easier to produce than traditional advertising. By partnering with a Creator, you have the benefit of their established niche or style, which saves you time on content strategy; you have the benefit of their production capabilities, which are usually more time and cost-efficient than traditional production; and you have the benefit of their built-in audience, i.e., content distribution. Boom! All the fundamental ingredients of a campaign covered off by the time you pick your creator. 

So, then, the challenge for a brand shifts from understanding how to engage an audience to understand who has demonstrated the ability to engage an audience in a way that’s aligned with your values and goals. And that’s the fun part — scrolling feeds, discovering new talent, being entertained, paying attention to what moves you and what is going to move your audience.

Who are your top 3 content creators? 

This is a mean question for someone who specializes in Influencer Marketing! Like my children, they are all my favorite. But if I had to pick:

  • Keith Lee. Keith will always hold a special place in my heart because he was the first Creator I pounded the table for at DoorDash. He first crossed my FYP in late fall 2022, right as I was getting my feet under me in the new role, and right away you could see that he operates with the same empathy for the restaurant industry that we carry as our mission at DoorDash. He used to be a Dasher! Yes, the content was a little raw (he was still sitting in the toddler Paw Patrol chair at that point), but his charisma was electric. He and his team are wonderful people, and I’m so proud DoorDash has played a part in his rising status.
  • Mikayla Nogueira. I will always ride for Mikayla — she’s high key a marketing genius. Brands love to throw around the word “authenticity” to the point that it’s become cliché, but Mikayla truly embodies it. She looked different, she sounded different, she was doing a style of maximalist makeup that was the polar opposite of the “clean girl” aesthetic that had everyone in a chokehold, and that’s what made her so great. It’s so clear how intentional she is with her brand, her content strategy, and her partnerships. I have endless respect for her, top to bottom, regardless of the number of times I’ve tried (and failed) to recreate her looks. 
  • Jocie B. ASMR is a divisive format — you either love it or you hate it. I’m a weirdo, so I unabashedly love it. During the pandemic, I’d watch ASMR at night to calm my nerves, and that’s when I discovered Jocie. She has this beautiful warm energy that draws you in, and over the past year or so, she’s really pushed the boundaries of how she expresses herself through art. Sometimes it’s really out there, but I’m here for it! She once did a piece of content where she role-played as a mushroom decomposing you after you died! It was so funny and so creative and so different in a way that’s been highly influential. Now you see more ASMR Creators role-playing scenarios or taking bolder swings with their setups and props.
What Influencer Marketing trend do brands need to be aware of? 

Less a trend and more of an unignorable phenomenon is women’s pro sports. I’m awed by the remarkable ascent of leagues, teams, and players in just the past year and the shine and visibility they’ve earned. I want to see brands give Caitlin Clark all her flowers! I want the WNBA to sell out every stadium, every game! This moment is so special and such a long time coming. We learned through our partnership with Angel City Football Club that women athletes are some of the best and easiest to work with. They’re approachable, gracious, and kind. 10/10 would recommend.

If you want to hear more from Nicole, check out this video in which fellow Influencer Marketing experts are joining her on how to create unskippable influencer content. 

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